Court Trials


Adult courts trials are more harsher than juvenile courts, which gives me a different view of courts trials between adultís court and juvenileís court. A new experience every time, though itís really all the same. Different people act to it differently. That was the most interesting part about observing court trials. For the adult courts trials, the adult have to be present or the trial will be dismissed. But in the juvenile depending on each case, such as child custody; the child sometimes didnít show up and is still proceed; Unless, they were told they had to be there or else itíll be rescheduled.


The first adult trailed, that I observed are the first appearance misdemeanors. The adult courtrooms are set up a little different from the juvenileís courtrooms. Also, the defense person had to stand behind a stand away from the judge and other people who were present. Two guards are also there incased anything happened. In the observerís view you can see everything right in front of you without any problem, which is nice. You feel very safe. The first misdemeanor court trials are located in the jailed building across from the government center on 5th street and 4th Avenue. In the front desk, each person will go through a metal detector. The Security in the front desk is very helpful, if you just tell them why your there and what you want to see theyíll direct you to a courtroom. If you donít know, theyíll also tell you what kind of trials they have. That way you can chose to attend any you want. Trials were held from 9:30Am, and each appearance is very quick discussion, about 10 minute to 15 minutes and then the nest personís up. There is two or three defendant there at a time, waiting for their turn.


The first guy on the stand was Spanish speaker, so there was a Spanish interpreter present to translate. There were three of them inline waiting for their turn on the stand. All were different cases. The attorneys that were there represent them all, which was something that I didnít quite understand how that is. Maybe must be the first appearance so that was probably their job. It was hard to hear because everyone speaks at a regular voice. There were no microphones.


The second defendant was African American. He said that English is his first language but then it sounds it like he has an accent. The Judge was trying hard to understand him. The African guy didnít understand what the Judge was saying when the Judge told him that he need to hire a attorney for his case. He reply and kept talking and asking the Judge questions. The Judge told him that before he ask anything or state anything, he needs an attorney present. But the African guy kept pushing the limit, the Judge just ends up not answering, ignoring him. One of the police officer was trying to explain to the African guy that he can not speak further or else anything he says can go against him. So the African guy got mad but he tries not to speak further. I feel like he lied about English as his first language. The judge offer to find a translator but the African guy didnít want it. I thought this was bazaar.


There were no other observer, it was only Vi and I at first, and then later, many other students came in as well. They look like a high school group on a tour. They all left before Vi and I. We watch three to four different defendants more before leaving that courtroom.


Each defendant that shows up, in their next appearance it will be in a different places like at Saint Louis courtroom, or somewhere else thatís near their home city. Most of them will be at the Governmentís Center building.


When I and Vi left the first appearance misdemeanor courtroom, we discussed what we like and what we thought was different from the Juvenileís hearing weíve been to in the past. We pretty much agree that adult court session is very different from Juvenileís. They are much more serious, in many cases. In adult court I learned